Page 955 - Week 03 - Thursday, 10 April 2014

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into the commission. We have removed their ability not to be a patient or a client receiving treatment. Now what we are doing is stopping their ability to take the commission—if they see fit, as should be their right—to a different body and receive some assistance to do that.

I hope that members will agree to the amendment.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services) (12.21): The government will not be agreeing to this amendment. There are four such amendments Mr Smyth has put forward—3, 4, 7 and 10—that broadly fit within this category of legal costs. Initially, the question would be—to respond to Mr Smyth—who is determining what are reasonable and necessary legal costs?

The second point to make is that there is an adequate and appropriate review and appeal mechanism available under the bill. Both eligibility disputes and treatment and care needs assessment disputes are primarily concerned with clinical and care matters. Two stages of review are provided for with disputes decided by a panel of current medical and allied health professionals who are experts in their field and in areas relevant to the case being considered. Assessors will have current knowledge and experience in making the clinical and care decisions needed under the scheme. In both of these cases, if the panel considers there is an ancillary legal issue to be resolved, the panel may of course obtain external legal advice with the scheme covering reasonable costs.

In the case of a motor accident injury dispute, where it is recognised that legal questions may be more prevalent, the bill provides for review by suitably qualified persons, which would include persons with relevant claims, assessment and legal experience, and for the reasonable legal costs of the injured person in relation to such a referral and determination of a motor accident injury dispute to be met.

The amendments that Mr Smyth has put forward provide for the payment of legal costs regardless of who wins the ACAT review. This is not standard practice. Further, the wording would cover consultation legal costs for the injured person, not just litigation costs. Once again, this is not standard practice. It is worth noting that there are no similar clauses in the CTP legislation.

In relation to the eligibility disputes, amendment to clause 42 also extends to cover legal costs provided to an insurer, not just the injured person. The inclusion of such costs would, of course, increase the cost of the scheme and, hence, the cost of the levy payable by motorists on motor vehicle registrations. For those reasons, the government will not be supporting amendments 3, 4, 7 and 10 put forward by Mr Smyth today.

Amendment negatived.

Clause 25 agreed to.

Clauses 26 and 27, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

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